Military and strategic goods and technology

The Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) governs Canada’s system of export and import controls for military and strategic goods and technology.

Section 3 of the EIPA gives the Government the power to establish an Export Control List (ECL) to control the export of arms, ammunition, implements or munitions of war or articles of a strategic nature. Canada’s ECL is based principally on our participation in the major multilateral export control and non-proliferation regimes. Responsibility for the issuance or denial of export permits for military and strategic items on the ECL lies with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The ECL is divided into the following groups:

  • Group 1: Dual Use List
  • Group 2: Munitions List
  • Group 3: Nuclear Non-proliferation List
  • Group 4: Nuclear-Related Dual Use List
  • Group 5: Miscellaneous Goods and Technology (U.S. origin goods and technology, nuclear fusion reactors, blinding laser weapons, spacecraft, item intended for use in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, etc.)
  • Group 6: Missile Technology Control Regime List
  • Group 7: Chemical and Biological Weapons Non-Proliferation List
  • Group 9: Arms Trade Treaty

For further details see the relevant sections of A Guide to Canada's Export Control List.

An export permit is required before an item included in the ECL may be exported from Canada to any destination, with the exception (in most cases) of the United States. Nuclear material and equipment, prohibited firearms and conventional weapons are among the military and strategic items requiring permits for export to the United States.

Canada’s export controls are not meant to hinder international trade unnecessarily, but to regulate and impose restrictions in response to clear legislative and policy objectives. The Government of Canada strives to ensure that, among other policy goals, such as supporting Canadian foreign and defence policies, Canadian goods and technology are not used in a manner that is prejudicial to human rights, peace, security or stability.

Canada prohibits the export, sale, supply, or shipment of arms and related materiel to countries that are under United Nations Security Council arms embargos, through regulations under the United Nations Act. Canada also has autonomous sanctions in place in relation to certain countries through regulations under the Special Economic Measures Act, which prohibit certain activities, including the export of specific goods and technology to those countries, or to any person in those countries, and/or to listed individuals and entities subject to a ban on Canadians dealing with them. Furthermore, the EIPA also provides authority for an Area Control List (ACL), a list of countries to which the Governor-in-Council deems it necessary to control the export or transfer of any goods or technology, regardless of whether or not the items are included in the ECL. Currently, only North Korea is listed on the ACL.

Please note that even if an item does not appear on the ECL it may still need some sort of export authorization. Several other departments have responsibilities for certain export controls, namely: the Canadian Wheat Board, Health Canada, Agriculture Canada, Canadian Heritage, Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Natural Resources Canada; and Environment Canada.

Certain military and strategic goods and technology are also controlled for import into Canada. These include small arms, large-calibre armaments, tanks and other self-propelled guns, bombs, rockets and missiles, and Chemical Weapons Convention toxic chemicals, among others. These items are listed in the Import Control List and require a permit issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs prior to being imported into Canada.

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